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The youth sports coach holds 61.6% of the vote early against City Councilor Brandon Lesowske.

COURTESY PHOTOS - Brandon Lesowske, left, and Joe Backus, right, are running for Scappoose mayor.Updated Nov. 9.

Joe Backus is in the driver's seat in the contested race for Scappoose mayor, results released after midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 9, show.

Backus leads with 61.5% of the vote over Brandon Lesowske.

Backus and Lesowske, both longtime Scappoose residents, ran for the two-year term as mayor.

With more ballots to tally, the results are still subject to change, but Backus' lead is unlikely to disappear.

Backus works in sales and has been involved in youth recreation like Little League and the local youth football program.

Lesowske is an assistant director in Portland State University's planning and sustainability office and is currently finishing his first four-year term on the Scappoose City Council.

"We're feeling pretty good," said Backus of the early results.

He added, "We built this campaign around the idea of needing to create a vision for what we (Scappoose) want to be. … I'm glad that message resonated with a large portion of the city of Scappoose."

Backus isn't declaring victory just yet, although he is already thinking ahead.

"I do believe every vote counts; I look forward to seeing how the night unfolds," he said, adding, "I'm excited to start working with the city. … I really want to thank my team of supporters that helped me through this, taught me a lot."

Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge did not run for a ninth term.

With three city councilor seats up for grabs, the three candidates running are essentially unopposed.

Kim Holmes, Andrew Lafrenz and Jeannet Santiago will be sworn into office after the new year.

Santiago is already in office, having been appointed to the position earlier this year. Holmes and Lafrenz will fill seats vacated by Josh Poling, who did not seek another term, and Lesowske.

City councilors, who are unpaid, oversee the city manager, who in turn manages department heads.

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